Monday, June 23, 2014

More Quilt Fest Pictures

More photos of Quilt Fest Chicago -

Sawtooth X quilt by Kathleen McCrady

Lots and lots of gorgeous antique quilts.

Beth at The Quilt Merchant booth

Val owns The Quilt Merchant shop.

Val showed me what she's been busy teaching and working on - a Patchwork of the Crosses quilt. Do I dare even wonder if I have time to try this?  English paper piecing is so much fun. I found some pretty POTC designs on Pinterest. Oh my, you gotta love all the fussy cutting quilters are doing with these blocks. Maybe I'll just try making one . . . . You've heard that line before. I bet I'll be hooked before I know it.

Linda Franz has written a wonderful book on making this quilt.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Quilt Fest Chicago

Yesterday, I attended my favorite quilt show - The International Quilt Festival in Chicago.

There was so much to see. Quilts on display and vendors galore. I'm so glad they decided to come back to Chicago after a brief hiatus.  If you're anywhere near the area, you should definitely stop by to take it all in. The show is in Rosemont, IL and runs through Saturday (No Sunday hours this year). 

Here are a few of my favorite quilts - 

The Compass Quilt by Kathleen McLaughlin

Dandelions Quilt by Kathleen McLaughlin

 Grandmother Eulah's Flower Garden Quilt by Nancy Davis-Altman

Love the detail in the quilting around the hexagons

Feathers and Stars Abound Quilt by Zvia Strahilevitz-Klein

Quilt by Karen Roxburgh

Hourglass Quilt by Betsy Chutchian

Blindman's Fancy Quilt by Deb Otto

 Antique Diva Pyramids by Diana Petterson and Stars Over Green Pastures by Mary Freeman 

I'll show more photos from the show next week.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Make an Illinois Block

If you are following along on the AMB tour and hoping to make a quilt with blocks from all fifty states someday, the bloggers from around the U.S. that have participated in this blog tour have given you directions to make their state blocks on their blogs.
So, here's my pattern to show you how I made my Illinos block if you want to create one of your own.

The finished block measures 6" x 12". Click here for the directions. Scroll down the page to the very end for the pattern. I had a lot of fun making this block and love the variety colors. Cannot wait to see what the whole quilt will look like when it's finished. Thanks, Candice, for the opportunity to participate.

*   *   *

SUSAN SMITH, GA - winner of the fabric giveaway last week -  Please contact me.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Simple Quilting

This month our Yahoo group is working on making the little four-patch quilt from my book The Civil War Sewing Circle. Yes, we are still doing this. . . . Even if you are not part of the group, you are always welcome to join in on the fun.

Anyway, I promised I would show how I quilted the quilt using nothing more than a small bowl and washable fabric marker to mark the quilt. This is the design that resembles an orange peel (or pumpkin seed).

Instead of using an Orange Peel template or making my own from template plastic, here's what I did:

I marked the center of the block and then traced around a small bowl with a water soluble marking pen to make an arc on one side. Then I turned the quilt and used the bowl again to trace intersecting half circles around the rest of the block. Better than a template because you can do it easily with any size block, large or small - just find the right sized bowl with a nice arc. Here's a sample square I marked on paper to represent a 4-inch block:

Mark an arc along each side of the block.

The arcs intersect and you'll get this design if you mark each side of the block.

Mark each block you wish to quilt. Then just quilt on the lines and when you're finished, either wash the quilt gently or wipe with a damp cloth to remove all traces of the marking pen. It was easy to do this on a small quilt and it turned out very nice, I think. I'm not sure I'd try it on a larger quilt unless I had a lot of time.  I especially like the way it looks on the plain blocks where the stitches stand out a little more.

My favorite quilting thread is YLI quilting thread. I hardly ever use white thread - I'm very partial to the light brown as it gives a nice warm look when stitched on either light or dark fabrics. I've used the blue and red thread as well. 

If this orange peel design is not your cup of tea, then I recommend you try a small stencil from The Stencil Company. They have more designs to choose from than you can believe. I have a few 3" and 4" block stencils since that's the size I often make my small blocks. I use the 2" or 2.5 inch border stencils because I like to use rather skinny borders. 

I often get stumped by how to quilt the borders of my quilts.  Quilting with stencil designs is fun and if you're making small quilts it's a pretty simple way to finish them. Maybe this will help motivate some of you to finish up the quilting on your quilts as well. I have a nice variety of stencils and use them when I get tired of straight-line stitching (which is pretty mindless but still fun).

If you haven't been bitten by the hand quilting bug yet, you should try it.  I use very simple quilting designs and it usually takes a couple of evenings or a week at most to finish a small quilt. I can be VERY relaxing. I'm not very good at machine quilting. If I machine quilted one and ruined it, uh oh, I wouldn't have the time or inclination to fix it or make another one. If the hand quilting stitches are less than perfect or a little quirky, oh well. Antique doll quilts were not perfect either. 

I will win no prizes for the hand quilting on my doll quilts - my stitches could be a little smaller and straighter. But it sure is fun and I love the look of a little quilt that's hand quilted. If you haven't taken the time to do any hand quilting, try it out on a little doll quilt - it doesn't even have to be heavily quilted. Just try quilting straight lines or Xs in the blocks at first to get yourself going. You will improve with each stitch if you keep at it. I promise. 





Thursday, June 5, 2014

Fabric Winners

Giveaways are so much fun and I really love the excitement they generate. Congratulations to the two winners of the American Made Brand fabric bundles.

The winner of the Grand Prize fat quarter bundle -
  • Susan Smith  from GA, who loves to visit the state of Virginia
and, the winner of  a smaller bundle made up from my leftover fabric -
  • Carmen y Prady, from Spain

Winners -  Please contact me and send your mailing address to receive the fabric. I hope you both make something pretty with this gorgeous, colorful fabric.

Thanks, everyone, for joining in and posting a comment. This was a lot of fun. Remember -  the blog tour continues and there are more prizes waiting to be given away. So if you did not win this time, be sure you visit the remaining blogs and sign up to win some fantastic American made fabric from giveaways on their blogs.
I have had a pretty busy couple of weeks and now that the summer season is in full swing it does not seem like it's going to let up any time soon. I know I said I would show you how I made my Illinois block today but I've been really busy with family and other stuff so I will do my best to write the tutorial very, very soon, as promised.
Remember -  even though you did not win, you can still buy some of the Clothworks American Made Brand fabric at your local quilt shops. Find a store near you here

Illinois quilters - you can find the fabric at Material Girl Fabrics in Crystal Lake, IL or Quilters Destination in Arlington Heights, IL.
 Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Fabric Giveaway - Welcome to llinois

Welcome to the Illinois leg of the American Made Brand Blog Tour. I'm Kathy and I'll be your tour guide today. Using the American Made Brand fabric, here's the  block I designed to represent my state -

Our vehicle license plates say Land of Lincoln. You can see that my block incorporates President Lincoln, log cabins, prairie points, violets (state flower) and the Chicago skyline -  some of my favorite things!

I had a lot of fun making this,  playing around with all the different colors and then adding little details that represent my state. (That's the Chicago skyline embroidered on the top.) I'll show you how I made the block on Thursday when I announce the winners of the fabric giveaway.

*  *  *  To win a fat quarter bundle of some gorgeous, colorful American made fabric of your own, just post a comment and tell me which is YOUR favorite state to visit (other than the one you live in) and why you love it. Leave me an e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.

I was born and raised in Illinois. Chicago, to be exact. So you'll have to forgive me if I appear biased. Illinois gets some pretty bad press, what with the high crime and unemployment rates, not to mention the weather. Despite it's reputation for political corruption, "gangsters" and high taxes, it's actually a great place to live. I'm not kidding.  I'm still here so it can't be all that bad, can it? About 70% of Illinois residents live in or near the Chicago area. While Chicago may be considered the "Second City" by some,  to many of us living here it's the greatest city and we wouldn't trade it for any other. If you're traveling this summer and are lucky enough to be able to drop in for a visit, here are a few things that may interest you in Chicago and other parts of the state.

Illinois is the called The Prairie State (hence my prairie points on the block). It's also called the Land of Lincoln and has quite a few attractions revolving around the 16thPresident.

If you love Lincoln history, you need to visit the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. 
Or, you might want to walk in Lincoln's footsteps at the Lincoln Home Natural Historic Sites, a four-block neighborhood restored to the way it was in the 1860s and includes his actual home. There's also New Salem, a recreated pioneer village where you can see where Lincoln spent part of his adulthood. Period re-enactors are on hand for demonstrations, and you can even participate in activities from that era.
However, if you're coming to Illinois for even a short time, you have to see Chicago. It's a very nice city. Our Chicago museums are some of the finest museums around. Most of them border the shores of Chicago's fabulous Lake Michigan.
The Art Institute of Chicago  (scroll down and read my recent blog post from last week on this one).  
The Field Museum   - Dinosaurs! Mammoths! Mastodons! We visited so often my son practically lived here as a child.
The Museum of Science and Industry  Make sure you see Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle doll house.
The Shedd Aquarium has a wonderful aquatic show with dolphins, whales and sea lions.
The Adler Planetarium has one terrific sky show.
Of course, you'll also want to visit downtown Chicago, Navy Pier and the Children's Museum, Millenium Park, ride the elevator up to the observation decks at the top of either the Hancock building or Willis (Sears) Tower to get some great views of the city, visit Michigan Avenue and Water Tower Place on the Magnificient Mile for shopping and dining, take in a show at The Second City comedy club, schedule a shoreline cruise or a drive down LSD - Lake Shore Drive - for some scenic views.

 We have a couple of nice zoos (if you happen to like zoos.)
Ride a fantastic Ferris Wheel on the lakefront. Did you know that the very first Ferris Wheel debuted in June 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair?
Check out the heart and soul of Chicago by visiting its diverse ethnic and historical neighborhoods.
You may want to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in nearby Oak Park. Did you know that Prairie Style architecture has its roots in Chicago? I'm going on a walking tour this summer.
Also, make sure you try some Chicago-style deep-dish pizza before you leave.
There's so much to do here, it's almost impossible to tell it all. There are a few attractions I've never seen but I'm hoping to take care of that this summer. We live a few miles outside the city but I drive in often and feel lucky to be able to take advantage of all that Chicago has to offer. Sure, it's noisy and busy and traffic is always a pain but, afterwards, I get to go home to my quiet space and my little colonial in the (boring) suburbs where I can chill. I love the excitement and energy the city has to offer but I also love my home away from the city. Living in both worlds suits me just fine. Illinois - a nice place to visit and a great place to live.

Don't forget  - in order to be a winner in this giveaway - you have to post a comment telling me your favorite state aside from the one you live in now. If you live outside the states, just make something up, LOL. Make sure you leave me an e-mail address so I can contact you if you win. There will be 2 winners. I'll also be giving away a smaller bundle with some of the fabric I have left over from making my block. Winners will be picked after comments close on Wednesday night. I'll announce them on Thursday. That's when I'll show you how I made my block. Good luck to all of you! And don't forget to follow along the Blog Tour to see all the other fantastic state blocks and chances to win even more fabric.